Sales of the Lincoln MKZ totaled just 945, down 62% from the same month a year earlier. Lincoln brand sales declined 29% to 4,883.
MKZ was expected to spark the revival of the Lincoln brand, but Ford is delaying deliveries while conducting extensive quality inspections of the cars, which are built in Mexico.
"We have started delivering approximately 100 MKZs per day, even as we continue running every MKZ through its quality validation process," said Ken Czubay, vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service on the Ford sales call. "We are targeting dealers to be at normal MKZ stock positions at the beginning of April," he said.
"Lincoln's performance was dismal," said Krebs. "Lincoln had a small upward blip in consideration on Edmunds.com in December when it kicked off its advertising for the new MKZ and the new positioning of the brand. But it dropped back when Lincoln postponed significant deliveries of the new MKZ until spring."
Toprak said "dealerships are complaining that they are not getting enough inventory, but the larger issue is brand image. Lincoln has to find a way to get younger buyers. It's doable, but it's a five-to-10 year process that requires a lot of persistence."